There’s a saying that goes: “If you are lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough”.
I came back from this hike with about 760 photos in my camera. Yes, I know: it’s insane and good photographers don’t act like that – but I’m not a photographer and that’s not the point. I believe that’s what happens when you get really overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. One moment you see something amazing and breathtaking – a little detail, a special game of colours, a new point of view, even just one new beam of light – and you try to capture it. Then, one second later, another amazing little thing. And so on. And so on. And every single time you think you can do better, because what you see is so majestic and gorgeous: you must frame it from every single possible angle. And you get into this vortex of amazement, enchantment and surprise. Every-single-step.
At the end of the day, what you are left with is an incredible sense of fulfilment, irresistible longing for more, an even deeper love for this Planet – and waaaay too many photos.
Terminillo: Rome’s Mountain
Also known as “la montagna di Roma”, Rome’s mountain, no one considers Monte Terminillo as a great mountain. 2217 mt at its peak, situated in the Province of Rieti in the Lazio Region of Central Italy, Terminillo is not even the highest of this region.
Rising in the shadow of much more praised mountains of this area, like Monte Vettore, or the one and only Gran Sasso, no one is ever truly bewitched by this gentleman. Many describe it as “nice” and are not very drawn by its low extremeness.
We usually refer to it with cute nicknames, as it often happens in the teasey Roman character, and it’s very much part of our pop culture of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Long story short, it’s hardly referred to with adjectives worthy of a mountain and it’s rather overlooked. Somehow, for some reason, it’s considered some sort of “minor mountain”.
We already realised its unexpected magic when we went there snowshoeing in January, but what disclosed before our eyes a few days ago was beyond expectations.
Despite many descriptions, this hike is actually a rather easy and enjoyable one. 7 Km long with a 400mt elevation gain, a majestic landscape and an incredible variety of atmospheres are guaranteed.
Cherry on top, being a friday of late May, we were completely alone throughout the hike, which made it a real peaceful and personal experience.
A matter of perspective
We picked a very windy day: and maybe we knew it, but we didn’t really care. Dressed up like fluo ninjas, we parked our car at Rifugio Sebastiani and moved our first steps in the big field from which the trail departs.
As soon as the loop starts, a nice and steep uphill leads you straight to the summit, just to set the mood right. This is the hardest section of the hike – and it’s all a downhill from here!
The more you hike up, the more the landscape becomes vast and the horizon can be admired 360 degrees. And when you are up there, before such endless nature, you suddenly realise it’s all a matter of perspective.
On that deserted top that a Friday of late May granted us, the importance of perspective actually becomes clear, almost obvious. And yet, as soon as we get back down in the valley, we all forget about it almost immediately.
To work invented careers, to earn invented money, to buy useless objects: is this really more important than deserted summits? Is it really worth our illnesses? Is that really how we want to live?
I look at the horizon, at these vast expanse of nature, the sea down there, I sing an Italian song in my head and I wonder if an invented life has more sense than such a natural reality. A couple of breaths are enough, the air smells of melted snow: the hearth slows down even when breathless, because all of a sudden life finds a fairer dimension.
It’s a feeling of rightness that one hardly finds.
Moving away from the top, I wonder why do I have to go back down. Why can’t we just live like this? Why can’t I just be free? I picture myself planting a tent among those mountains and living there in the simplicity of life. Someone would probably come and tell me I can’t be there.
I try to be “reasonable”: if we all did that, then maybe nature wouldn’t be so preserved anymore. But it’s stronger than me: if we all cared about this planet and those who live with it, then we wouldn’t need all these rules and regulations and agreements and restrictions. So my questions show up again.
All I can do, is to experience the moment. To feel the power of this now and be free, at least for these few hours (truly) of mine.
An incredible variety of landscapes and ambiences and nature and formations keep flowing before our eyes. In the incredible peacefulness of this deserted Friday, Veronica and I spontaneously sit in the middle of the trail. We don’t speak. We just observe the beauty we have in front of us. We savour this chance. We listen to nothing, and we just are for a bit. I could’ve really stayed here forever…if it wasn’t for the rest of the world left to explore!
Dear Terminillo, Terminilletto bello, as we would call you, teach us how to live as humans, because this delirium of omnipotence and glory made us forget about the beauty of feeling small before an endless horizon. Of feeling meaningless before a mountain. Of feeling equal before nature.
We’ll go back to valley, we’ll fall into illusions again. Just stay with us and keep whispering your teachings… I’ll help myself with my 760 photos.